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Scan of a Northern Soul feature from Record Mirror Feb 15th 1975 issue
The Casino Loyals
WIGAN'S RAVERS SPOUT FORTH
"Stop me goin' at the all nighters and I stop yer breath"
GERROFF YA bikes, all you shufflers bold, leave yer balaclavas and bicycle clips In the cloakroom and come with us to the dance floor, because we're about to show you a new dance phenomenon that is guaranteed to tie you In knots. The name of the dance is Northern Soul and everyone past Hatfield is indulging in its uncanny body contortions.
Northern Soul Dancing became nationally known when a group of Wigan wanderers appeared on Top Of The Pops a while back, dancing to a disc called Footsee in such a way It even made Cossack reelin' look like a piece of pie. Footsee was originally recorded by a Canadian band in 1968, and was picked up by a Northern Soul distributor who brought it back to England.
Pye records found they had legal rights to the record so decided to add an assortment of horns and hand clapping courtesy of the Wigan kids and furthermore added "Wigan's" to Chosen Few to avoid confusion with the reggae outfit of the same name.
Apparently Northern Soul Dancing has been a whole way of life In sleepy Northern communities for several years and we Southern belles have been plain Ignorant of the fact.
I spoke to three patriots of the Wigan Casino (popular hot-spot with the young), Anne, Kip and Gethro ("spell It with a G please"), who recently demonstrated their dancing skills on TOTPs.
"We represent the American Chosen Few 'cos they can't con' over her'," says 18-year-old Anne, who's a telephonist In her spare time! "It was originally a tune for an American baseball team. "We helped out on the record, too. Like Kipper and me and another lad from Wigan, Tom. Me and Kip did the clapping and Tom blew the horns.
So has It now become Wigan's anthem? "No, not really," chips In Gethro, the lad, who travels 90 odd miles from Wolverhampton to Wigan every Saturday night. "The record of the Casino Is I'm On My Way, by Dean Parish. That's the last record of the evening; they always play it at the very end. "
Wigan Casino Is the ritzy raver's paradise It holds a cosy 2,000 bodies and can be compared with the Illustrious Flamingo Club of the 60s; anyone who Is anyone likes to be seen there. The club Is especially famous for its all-nlghter on Saturday.
"The all-nlghter. starts around 1.30 am, and the Beachcomber, which is built in the Casino, opens around 12.00, so we all pile In there till 2.00 am so we can warm up our dancing like, an' keep off streets," says Kip, a teenage Eddie Waring. "Then me an' lads head for all-nlghter like, which stays open till eight in morning."
All-nighters are a God-send to the ravers but their parents aren't so keen on the Idea; in fact some even stop their kids spending those oh so wild nights on the tiles. Kip's parents in particular were against their son staying out all night. "Me mates said com' on, there all same like, Ignore ole man, ya know 'cos me da' were a bit strict like, so me mates said ignor 'im, ger' up. And the following day when I got 'om he's there beatin' hell. So I said fair enough and went living at me uncle's. Then me mam died so I went living back 'orne and he couldn't say owt and when I com' 'ome like I said you stop me goln' at the all-nlghter and I'll stop yer breath! "T'as been aright since, like,
Entrance fee Into this den of modern day victor Sylvesters Is a quid, but it's interesting to note that our sweet Annie lass does a bit o' cleaning to 'ger In for nowt! "Me and me two mates" go up ther' about 2.00 o'clock In morning, just before It opens, and do a bit a' Cleaning. We empty ashtrays and roll up carpets for dancing, and so ger' In for free," she giggles.
The prime reason these teenagers frequent the Casino is simply to dance. It's not a pick-up joint nor is it a drinker's haven because Coke is about the most potent concoction on the list. "I'm a proper Northerner, I like me ale and me woman. But on Saturday It's just dancing," says the virile Kip. Says Gethro: "I take me own dolly along. We mainly go for the music and the dancing; I dance all night, I do. " Anne agrees with the lads: "We go for the dancing - I don't go for lads. Orh, I can't be bothered wl' 'erm I got one, like, who I met ther'. . "She loves 'im," jibes Gethro. "I don't!" "Go on, gir" 'em a plug," says Kip. "His name's Sean, an' he ain't a bad dancer is Sean!"
Do you have to be a good dancer to gain respect and admiration from the opposite sex? "No!" answers Anne, adamantly. (Gethro nods a definite yes behind her back). "Well," she says, softening, "It's nice to be seen wi'v a lad who's a good dancer my Sean's good, though!"
"My dolly, Kim's, a good dancer, she came second In a dancing competition. An' I said if you come first next time, I'll get engaged to you!" "Without a doubt dancin's the main thing on Saturday night," cuts In Kip. "You can have birds from Sunday to Friday nights but Saturday night is for Wigan Casino and that's it." "My dolly, I take her to Wigan,"explains Gethro. "She pays herself in and I don't see her all night until the following morning. I know she won't try and geroff with others she's there purely for dancing, she never bothers me. She might come up to me and say wanna coke or something. I mean, some of the girls ger' In the way, so I just push 'em out the way, I do" " Yeah, I got kick off 'im last week," alfirms Anne.
Do you practise In your own front rooms or do you go around to friends' houses and cause disturbances there? "I practise in me bedroom, me," says Anne. "I've got a lot of space on one side of me room. Me dad thinks I'm crackers, though. Every time he look a' me I'm dancing!"
If you think Northern Soul Dancing is easy, read on . . . Anne and co say It takes a lot of application and determination to perfect as there are so many tricky (and back -breaking) feats involved. I.e., leg spins; back-drops; handsprings (as shown In pics).
When Anne tried her hand at legs breaks she hurt herself so much that she needed medical attention. "I sprained me tendon at the back of me leg doing drop-downs and that. Doctor said that if I kept on I could split It all the way and might end up in hospital for as long as two years. Bur' I kept on ar' it, and it's danced itself berrer."
Is there ever any bother at the Casino between rival gangs trying to out dance each other? "When we first went to Wigan there used to be a lot of Manchester kids doing drop-backs, and we douldn't do It," says Gethro. "We used to watch 'em, like, and then start dancing and trying to copy 'em and they'd deliberately box us In and try an' stop us. At first there was some nastiness involved, but once you get accepted It's great. Once you're in, you're In." So It Is very competitive? "Oh, yeah. We're jealous of some of the good dancers," says Gethro.
"Maybe with some," argues Kip, "like Frank Booper, thinks he's great, don' he. ?" "Well, he was brilliant," intervenes Gethro, "but he was sent down for a bit. When he came out about two weeks ago I was dancing by meself In a comer like and he deliberately shifted everyone out of the way so's he could try and beat me at everything I was doing. "
By now you may have gathered that dancing is a way of life In Wigan and so It's hardly surprising that these kids think us Southerns silly for not knowing anything about It. "You're living In the past - locked away," they laugh. "Like everyone think's It's all happening down In London and that It's the most swinging place - yet the North Is leaving you lot behind!" What do you think of our style of dancing then? "Well, If Pan's People are owt to go by, then " says Klp.. . It begins wi' a C. . "I mean, they've got the bodies," says Gethro, eyes popping, "but that's all the blokes say is good about 'em. They're sex symbols, that's all."
Interpreted by Jan Iles
Video of the 1975 Top Of The Pops Appearance
Here's a scan of a Record Mirror ( a long gone mainstream uk music paper) feature taken from the issue dated 15th Feb 1975.
After their appearance on the BBC's Top Of The Pops as part of the 'Wigans Chosen Few' spot Record Mirror featured an article from Jan Iles having a chat with some of the dancers involved, Anne, Kip and Gethro....